Pizza dough can get a little tricky, but not anymore! Before diving into your next baking adventure, it’s important to understand the different types of flour.
Several flours create different textures depending on the amount of protein in each type. All-purpose flour is perfect for pizza dough and most baking applications. It has enough protein content to form the essential gluten, yielding a good structure for your pizza.
On the other hand, self-rising flour is good for voluminous or sweet baked goods, but not pizza!
Are you still wondering whether it’s all-purpose or self-rising flour for pizza dough? Let’s dive deeper into the ingredients that will make your ideal pizza.
The Difference Between All-Purpose Flour and Self-Rising Flour
All-purpose flour and self-rising flour are two of the most commonly used flour types. All-purpose flour is versatile wheat flour that contains about 10-20 percent protein.
It’s perfect for most types of baked goods like pizza, bread, muffins, cookies, and biscuits. Plus, it can be used for other cooking purposes like thickening sauces and coating meat.
The amount of gluten formed in all-purpose flour creates the elasticity required for pizza dough. It simply helps the dough stretch and prevents breaking. It also doesn’t let the pizza dough rise too high, thereby achieving that desired thin pizza crust. It’s a crucial ingredient that gives the pizza its stable structure.
While self-rising flour can be substituted for all-purpose flour, the opposite isn’t necessarily applicable. Self-rising flour is made up of a mixture of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. It has a lower protein content of about 8.5 percent.
This type of flour is excellent for making tender products like pancakes, muffins, and cakes. The chemical leavening, baking powder, in the self-rising flour creates small air pockets. These small air pockets or bubbles give the dough a cakey look. Pizza crust typically has larger air pockets.
The low gluten protein content of self-rising flour leads to low elasticity of the dough. The weaker dough won’t be able to stretch as thin without breaking.
What’s more, self-rising flour adds a bit of flavor to the dough that can be detectable in the final product. This might not be a problem for sweets because they usually contain enough added flavors to mask this taste. However, the pizza flavor might be greatly affected, which could be especially noticeable in the crust.
5 Secrets to the Perfect Pizza Dough
One might think that pizza toppings are what differentiate pizzas from one another, but in all actuality, pizza dough is the most crucial element of a good pizza. So what’s the secret to ideal pizza dough?
Choosing the Right Flour Type
By now, we’ve established that all-purpose flour is perfect for pizza dough while self-rising flour isn’t. Do you have another type of flour and don’t know if it’s suitable? Well, don’t throw it out!
We’ve got some good news. Other types of flour can be used for pizza dough as well. It just depends on the type of pizza you’re making.
If you want to make a thin pizza crust or a deep-dish pizza crust, your best bet is all-purpose flour. But if you’re going for a homemade style pizza that’s thick, soft, and fluffy, bread flour is the go-to option.
Bread flour is the second most used flour for pizza dough. Its high-gluten content gives a good structure to your pizza, allowing for great stretching and rising. Therefore, it makes pizza dough super easy to handle. It’s often used to achieve chewy crusts with crispy edges. But you can make thin crusts with it too.
If you’re looking to make a gluten-free pizza, almond flour is a great option. However, the high-fat content and low density of almond flour may require ratio adjustments to your traditional recipes. You can make up for the lack of gluten by adding a substituent like whey protein to maintain the elasticity and structure.
Now that we’ve picked all-purpose flour for the job, let’s put it to work!
Picking the Yeast
There are two kinds of yeast that you can buy at the grocery store: active dry yeast and instant dry yeast.
Before adding active dry yeast to your all-purpose flour and the rest of your dry ingredients, mix it with hot water. Add some sugar to the mix and let it sit for a couple of minutes. After the dough is formed, it’ll require a rising time of about one to two hours.
On the other hand, you don’t need to mix instant or fast-acting yeast with hot water. Fast-acting yeast is added to the dry ingredients and mixed, followed by the water. The formed dough should take a rising time of about 10 minutes.
The rising process, also known as the leavening process, results in soft and fluffy baked goods. Each recipe indicates which yeast is preferred for it since the two have different effects on the baking process. Therefore, you can’t use them interchangeably.
Kneading the Pizza Dough
Before getting into how to knead your dough to perfection, let’s understand why kneading is important. Good kneading allows the gluten to develop and creates a strong structure for your pizza dough.
Afraid you don’t have the skills? Let’s break it down.
First, make sure that you’re working on a well-floured surface. Not having enough flour can make the dough stick to your hands or the counter.
You can work manually by rolling and pressing the dough back and forth with the palms of your hands. It’s pretty simple!
If you don’t want to take much time, just throw your pizza dough in a stand mixer, and let it do the work. The process should take 10 to 12 minutes. A food processor with a dough hook should take even less time; around 8 minutes.
Some good signs to know that your pizza dough is ready are when it’s completely smooth and doesn’t sag when you hold it.
After kneading the dough, it’s time for fermentation. Cold fermentation means storing the pizza dough at the low temperature of the refrigerator, not room temperature.
All-purpose flour contains enzymes that break down its starch into simple sugars. Then, the yeast ferments these sugars. The cold temperature slows down the activity of the yeast as it digests carbohydrates.
The process of cold fermentation improves the texture and creates complex flavors. For optimal texture and flavor, leave the pizza dough in the refrigerator for 24 to 72 hours.
Flavoring the Dough
While not a crucial step in the dough making process, adding flavor to the dough is one secret to perfection that isn’t traditional. If you want pizza dough that’s as delicious as the one you get at fancy restaurants, this is an important step.
One way to enhance your pizza dough flavor is by adding some herbs. Pick some herbs of your choice, whether dried or fresh, like rosemary, or oregano. Then, add one to two teaspoons to your batch of pizza dough.
Another way to add extra flavor to your pizza dough is by basting the crust. You can experiment with infused oils like truffle oil, sage oil, or rosemary oil.
You can also mix some ingredients for a unique flavor. A mixture of olive oil, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese will enhance the flavor and give a nice color to the pizza dough. Brushing the surface and the edges should do the trick.[Related Article: 5 Best Pizzelle Maker And Buying Guide]
All-purpose flour contains enough gluten blend that makes a good pizza dough with the right elasticity and texture. Therefore, it’s preferred to self-rising flour when making pizza dough.
Remember that flour is a key ingredient when it comes to making pizza dough. Ready to begin your next baking adventure?